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What You Need to Know About Wedding Processionals

Wedding Ceremony at Ocean Cliff in Newport, Rhode Island

Wedding Ceremonies from the perspective of a Ceremony Musician

It can be a stressful event to put the wedding ceremony together. It’s the reason you just spent 12-18 months planning for one special day. Family and friends gather to see you and your fiancé say those special vows to each other. I’m sure you have some questions about what happens before, during and after the ceremony. Before I started performing at weddings I was unfamiliar about the formalities of each part of the wedding After five years, I can say I have seen every type of wedding ceremony and each is unique to each couple.

Who goes first in the processional? Does the wedding party walk out to the same song as the bride? Do the groomsmen and bridesmaids walk out together as a couple or separated? What is a recessional?

The wedding ceremony is a important part of my job as a ceremony musician. I need to know the details of who is walking down the aisle when and how many people are walking down so I can perfectly time the music and change pieces/ songs as necessary (Practicing multitasking is key to being able to do both at the same time).


Each wedding ceremony reflects the style and personality of the couple, so the first thing that I would say is there’s no wrong way to have a ceremony. Whether in a backyard, on a dock or looking over the beautiful Rhode Island ocean, every wedding ceremony is going to be beautiful and something you remember for the rest of your life.

The processional is the part of the ceremony where the groom, family, wedding party and bride walk down the aisle.

Who goes walks down the aisle first in the processional?

Typically the groom is the first to walk down the aisle. He may also just walk from the side entrance just before the start of the processional.

Next is usually family to walk down the aisle. Typically its mothers of the bride and mother/ father of the groom. The family processional can be as short or as long as you want it to be. Maybe you want to include grandparents or special relatives in your life.

Should the Wedding Party walk down to the same music as the Bride?

This is individual to each couple. I have played at weddings where it was just one song, and others had two or more songs before the bride walks down the aisle. The bigger the wedding party, it makes more sense to have one specific song for the wedding party.

Some of my favorite processional songs for the wedding party include

  • Can't Help Falling in Love

  • A Thousand Years

  • Speechless- Dan+ Shay

  • Trumpet Tune

  • Air on the G String

Some of my favorite Bridal Processionals

  • Canon in D

  • A Million Dreams- from the Greatest Showman

  • I'm Yours

  • Marry Me

Recessional Music

Recessional music is played at the end of the ceremony after you and your fiancé are finally pronounced married! The now married couple walk back up the aisle along with the wedding party and family. Recessional music is typically upbeat popular music to get the party started.

Here is some of my favorite recessional music I have played

  • Here Comes the Sun

  • Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World

  • Signed, Sealed, Deliver

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